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December 04, 2014

The cost of college continues to outpace median family income, and at the White House Thursday hundreds of college presidents met with President Obama to discuss how they can make getting a college degree easier and more affordable.

Pam Eddinger is president of Bunker Hill Community College, and this was her third visit to the White House. She says the third time is a charm, and Bunker Hill is committed to enrolling and graduating more students by making sure they're prepared for college-level work.

"Those things when we say them in public have greater weight because even though no one may ever check up on us, we know we've made the promise," Eddinger said. "Is it all on an honor system? Of course it is. But then we're educators. I mean that's what we do."

"The president was very clear that every student who has the potential to achieve should have the possibility and the venue to do so," Eddinger added. "It was a renewed promise to the colleges that he would work on key pieces like Pell grants and tax credits to allow more students to come to college."

"I believe the White House now has a much more nuanced understanding of what allows low-income students to come to college," Eddinger said. "It's a collaboration of systems and not just one particular effort."

At the White House, college presidents also pledged to improve access to highly-trained guidance counselors and increase the number of college grads in science, technology, engineering and math.

From the outside looking in, though, it doesn't seem like much progress is being made. Students and their families are now actually paying more at those colleges that pledged at the White House in January to make college more affordable.

Follow #collegeopportunity for updates from the summit.

White House, increasing access and success, bunker hill community college

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